Talisman Energy (TLM)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 27, 2010 11:00 am ET

Executives

John Manzoni - Chief Executive Officer, President, Non-Independent Director, Member of Health, Safety, Environment & Corporate Responsibility Committee and Member of Executive Committee

Richard Herbert - Executive Vice President of Exploration

Paul Smith - Executive Vice-President of North American Operations

Nicholas Walker - Executive Vice President of International Operations - West

L. Thomson - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance

Analysts

Brian Singer - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Greg Pardy - RBC Capital Markets Corporation

Mark Polak - Scotia Capital Inc.

Paul Andriessen

Markus Ermisch - Calgary Sun

George Toriola - UBS Investment Bank

Michael P. Dunn - FirstEnergy Capital Corp.

Christopher Theal - Macquarie Research

John Herrlin - Merrill Lynch

Carrie Tait - National Post

Andrew Potter

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing. Welcome to Talisman Energy Inc. Second Quarter Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] This call contains forward-looking information. Certain material factors and assumptions were applied in making the forecasts and projections to be discussed in this call and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated by Talisman and described in the forward-looking information. Please refer to the cautionary advisories in the July 27, 2010, news release and Talisman's most recent annual information form, which contains additional information about the applicable risk factors and assumptions. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the conference over to Mr. John Manzoni. Please go ahead.

John Manzoni

Thank you very much, Ron. Ladies and gentlemen, good morning, and thank you for joining our second quarter conference call. I'm joined here in Calgary as usual by the management team, and after Scott Thomson and I have run through the results for you, we will be happy to help answer your questions.

In terms of commodity prices, I think the year's turning out pretty much as we've expected and perhaps even a little stronger in terms of gas price. Oil prices look to be trading at a relatively stable band around $75, which is, I think, fairly well supported. Prices lately seemed to be influenced as much by the general appetite for risk as the fundamentals of supply and demand, but there is broad consensus that global demand will remain robust over the second half and into next year. Future direction of non-OpEx supply will likely have some influences on prices in the medium-term, but we continue to believe that the oil price at current levels look secure, and in fact, has gentle upward pressure.

North American gas prices have been slightly stronger than we thought they might be, robust industrial demand, coal substitution and some recent hot weather seem to have supported prices in the $4 to $5 range. But we remain cautious in our short-term outlook here since supply in North America continues to be very strong. I think there remains potential at least, for the fundamentals to erode price levels a bit from here in the second half of the year with weather, of course, also being an important factor as always.

We're well-positioned if the gas prices do weaken a little from here. And I would say in a stronger position now than we were even in the first quarter, with a very strong balance sheet, flexibility in our capital programs and great momentum in our key areas.

I'd characterized our second quarter as a strong quarter in which we've done exactly what we said we'll do, with the portfolio now increasingly set for sustainable profitable growth. I mentioned at our recent Investor Open House, that we would demonstrate underlying growth in the second half of this year. This quarter's results reaffirm that view, and we're confident we're well-positioned to begin to see sequential growth over the second half.

Turning to some of the highlights for the quarter. We're producing more than 190 million cubic feet a day from the Marcellus today, which gives us more confidence in reiterating our target year-end exit rate of between 250 million and 300 million cubic feet a day. The trend I noted last time we talked of unconventional growth outstripping conventional decline has been consolidated this quarter, and is contributing to the underlying growth of the overall Talisman level. This will continue and will set us up for 5% to 10% absolute growth into next year.

Our asset transition is continuing and as you saw from our release so far this year, we've completed $1.5 billion of the $1.9 billion of asset sales in our North American conventional portfolio, and we'll deliver the remainder through the second half of the year. That's contributed to $2.6 billion of cash on the balance sheet which is clearly a very strong position, although Scott will explain, we will spend some of that through the second half.

We strengthened our exploration portfolio further over the quarter. In June, we were awarded three exploration blocks in the Sub-Andean oil trend of the Putumayo basin in Columbia, and we have some encouraging signs from our first test well in the heavy oil blocks we already holed. Although it's early days, this is all moving in the right direction.

We've been awarded additional acreage around our Sageri block in Indonesia, which we'll drill next year. And we completed a good appraisal well on Grevling in Norway although with more work to do to establish a development program for that discovery.

Our Asian portfolio has hit 125,000 barrels a day this quarter, the underlying trend is positive and we'll also benefited from a one-off adjustment as we completed a favorable utilization agreement on South Angsi. So our strategic actions are all moving in the right direction, and we're delivering what we promised.

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